Leeds United fans were left thoroughly pleased with the performance of their folk hero Pontus Jansson in the World Cup yesterday. Hauled into the starting XI at the last minute after Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof fell ill he was imperious at the back for the Swedes.
He dominated in the air, looked comfortable on the ball and made some crucial tackles and interceptions throughout.
For Leeds fans it was something of a throwback to the 2017 Pontus Jansson that they had grown to love. The Swedish defender was the standout performer in the Championship in the defensive positions that season.
But last campaign he struggled. Jansson, burdened by responsibility, often found himself putting in sub-par performances.
What the Sweden game proved is what many already knew, for Jansson to thrive he needs the right defensive partner.
When he thrived for Leeds he had Kyle Bartley alongside him. A ball-playing centre-half with a calming influence. Yesterday, for Sweden, he played alongside Andreas Granqvist, very similar in style to Bartley.
It leaves the Leeds man free to do what he does best. Cut out passes, go win headers, make crunching tackles. Basically, play like the old school defender he is.
Last season at Leeds he did not have a regular partner and if Leeds want him to get back to his best on a club level Victor Orta and co must bring in a suitable team-mate to let him do just that.